A teenage girl was hospitalized after an explosion in her chemistry class in Greensboro, NC on Wednesday. Aimee Green, a Junior at Western Guilford High School, was admitted to the burn unit at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital for burns to her hair, face, chest, and arm after an experiment in her high school chemistry lab went awry. Aimee and another student were injured after their licensed chemistry teacher attempted an experiment involving ethanol, alcohol, and salt. The teacher, who had been teaching at the school since 1999, is suspended while the school district investigates whether safety protocols were followed.
Fires and Explosions from School Chemistry Lab Accidents
Sadly, fires and explosions from school chemistry accidents have burned several students over the past decade. In 2014, the National Science Teachers Association released a safety advisory about the dangers of experiments and demonstrations that involve the ignition of flammable liquids.
However, many chemistry teachers still use a popular demonstration called the “rainbow flame,” which involves igniting a pool of ethyl alcohol on a lab table and adding salts to change the color of the flames. The “rainbow flame” demonstration has had tragic consequences, causing students to suffer serious burn injuries. In 2006, a young woman suffered burns to 40% of her body after her high school chemistry teacher told the class that they did not need to wear protective gear during the experiment. Calais Weber has now become a safety advocate and released a video with the CSB, warning people about the dangers of high school chemistry accidents.
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